HIKING and CULINARY COOKING TRIP TO SOUTHERN CRETE Information and Itinerary **Subject to change
**Other trip options available and can be customized
KAPETANIANA / KOPHINAS PEAK / SOUTHERN CENTRAL CRETE
Welcome to Kapetaniana in the southern part of Crete! This package is offered to fans of walks and trekking who want to discover the most fascinating hidden places of our region. These hikes through the gentle landscape of the Asteroussia Mountains take us through a countryside that is timeless.
The Asteroussia area is a favorite destination for anyone seeking the tranquility of the mountains or breathtakingly beautiful walks along the secret beaches of southern Crete.
Welcome! Your amazing accommodation is set in a local mountaintop village. The individual houses are of traditional stone which have been beautifully restored to reflect the ancient traditions of the area. The houses are constructed from stone and rock, with traditional fireplaces and embroidered carpets that create a gloriously warm atmosphere. The houses are equally functional and relaxing.
Hiking and walking paths in Kophinas peak is a great experience to fully enjoy panoramic valleys, magnificent coastal paths, rocky coves, colorful wild flowers, rare birds and deserted sandy beaches along the south-central coast of Crete.
On hiking days, hiking and outing times vary from 5 to 7 hours with a picnic lunch that is provided. You will cook and dine on traditional dishes chosen specifically from fresh, local ingredients that are in abundance around you, giving you that feeling of living from the land and letting you indulge in the beauty that nature provides.
All hikes and walks are hosted and guided by Markos the resort host/owner, a native of Asteroussia, who knows the hidden gems of the area including caves that are several hundred years old and secret beaches.
All meals and cooking classes are hosted by cook George who is also your host for your tours around the island.
- Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty 68km from Heraklion
- The beach is about 8km away so within walking distance
- A restaurant with fireplace where you can share and enjoy the best of Cretan cuisine
- Beautifully restored accommodation with all amenities geared towards your comfort and enjoyment, including LCD and satellite TV, orthopedic mattresses and central heating
- Infinity Swimming pool with stunning views of the mountains and sea
- Hiking the Kophinas peak
- Walking/Hiking to the monastery of Koudoumas
- Hiking to the Eligias gorge
- Walking/Hiking the gorge Agiofarago and the monastery of Xopateras
- Walking the city of Heraklion and wine tasting
- The wilderness of the mountains and spectacular views and inlets to the secret beaches of Southern Crete
- Inspiring walks on the island to sample and learn about the Cretan way of life
- Expert hands-on tuition and a warm, casual and relaxed learning environment
- An opportunity to travel to interesting places out of tourist zones and see local people at work
- A visit to the ancient, historical sites of Phaestos / Gortys / Knossos
- All meals breakfasts / lunches / dinners according the healthy Cretan Mediterranean traditional nutrition
- Inspiring tours around the island to sample and learn about the Cretan way of life
** The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes, as well as any other unforeseen circumstances, but is typically as follows:
Day 1- Sunday Arrival and traditional Cretan welcome dinner
After arriving at Heraklion airport, you will be met by your driver and English speaking Cretan host George If you’re arriving in the morning you’ll head somewhere for lunch before being driven to the resort via transfer
For guests arriving after lunch, George will meet you at the airport and offer you a coffee, snack and water for the 70 minute transfer to the Mountaintop Resort
Check into your house, relax and explore the beautiful surroundings before joining the welcome dinner made up of a variety of local Cretan vegetarian / vegan Mediterranean foods – your first taste of the flavors of Crete
Day 2. Monday Kophinas Peak, The ruins of Gortys, The Minoan palace of Phaestos & hands-on cooking course
Begin by car at approx. 5.30 am from the resort until the foot of the mountain (duration of the route: approx. 20 min). Then an ascent of approx. 30 minutes will follow. In this route eagles that have their nests at the top of the mountain can be seen and photographed. This is the same route followed by ancient Cretans to devote their gods at the peaks sanctuary. Christians later on built the small country church of Holy Cross which we will visit it. Stay there for approx. 30 minutes Return to the village by car by approx. 8.30 AM.
8.30 – 9.00 Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading out to explore the south-central part of the island with your host George
This afternoon you’ll visit Gortys, the ruined capital city of the Roman province which included the island of Crete You’ll see the impressive amphitheatre and the Basilica of St Titus before driving west to the archaeological site of Phaestos – the second most significant site of the Minoan civilisation Phaestos is an ancient palace and you’ll also see the site of the ancient city, offering a detailed insight into ancient life. Stop off in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos for lunch and enjoy local specialities and freshly caught seafood for the Pesco vegetarian or variety of local vegan foods and salads.
After lunch you’ll head back to the resort. Our first cooking class and dinner is Local legumes and Casseroles
Day 3. Tuesday Kapetaniana- Koudoumas monastery
Trip from the village to the beach of Saint Yiannis, the cave of Saint Antonios and to the abbey of Koudoumas and return to the village.
Duration of the trip: All day
Good for months: May - June, – July – August – September
The trip begins by leaving the resort by car to the village, until Ai Yiannis (duration: approx. 30 minutes). Then a tour to the Monastery follows and after we get in to the boat which is parked at the beach of “Elygia”. We continue with a tour of 45 minutes by boat to the abbey of “Koudoumas” with a stop at the beach of Saint Antonios for swimming and a light meal that we kept with us from the hostel. The return will be done by boat until “Elygia” and from there back to the hostel by car. Dinner at the resort restaurant with local vegetarian specialties.
Day 4. Wednesday Kapetaniana- Agiofarago Trip from the village to the beach of Agiofarago, a visit to the monastery of Odigitrias and return to the village.
Duration: 1.5 hours walk
Activity Level: Easy
Best time: 9.00 am-5.00 pm
Duration: 8 hours Best time: July to October
Unpaved 2 km trail x 2 times
Total distance 60 km / 4 walk + 56 by 4X4 round trip
Start from the resort at 9 AM. Takes approx. 60 minutes drive to arrive the entrance of the gorge. “Agiofarago" means "Gorge of Saints". This gorge used to be the shelter of the monks who lived from the 6th century to the now days. We will walk around 45 minutes through the gorge that leads to one of the most beautiful and quiet beaches of Crete at Liviko Pelagos. There we have the chance to see the cave - house of a monk, a local hero during the revolution of 1866. We will also be impressed by the view of a natural lagoon connected underground with the sea. Break for an hour or 2 and a light picnic lunch at the beach for swim and keep walking having a break at the near monastery of Odigitrias or Xopateras the legend monk during the Cretan revolution that on 1828 the monk Xopateras and 4 more Cretan fighters fight against 3000 Turk soldiers. Next visit the village of Listaros where we lunch. Back to the resort at approx. 6 PM. The today’s cooking class starts at 8 pm. Tonight’s hands-on class is based on the process of making stuffed tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, and Aubergines…as well as Dolmadakia (little stuffed wraps) with vine leaves, sorrels or pumpkin flowers. These all will be enjoyed as our dinner and will be accompanied with copious amounts of pure, homemade local wine and raki.
Day 5. Thursday Kapetaniana- Eligias gorge (via ferratas) and boat trip (weather permitted)
Duration: 3-5 hours walk
Activity Level: Moderate to hard/Challenging
Best time: 9.30am-4.00 pm
Good for months: May - June, – July – August – September
Unpaved, gravel 8, 5 km trail
Total distance 22km / 8,5 walk + 12,5 by 4X4 round trip
We start the day after breakfast at 9.30 AM the via ferratas / Eligias gorge hike and ending the gorge we come to the small port of Elygia where we board a small boat for a boat ride. Break at a beautiful unspoiled small private bay / beach for an hour being just you, the sea and nature. An hour later Markos will pick you up to take you back to the beach and drive you back to the resort. Dinner at the resort with local specialties
Day 6 - Friday Wine tasting at Peza co-operative, the palace of Knossos and walking the city of Heraklion
Today we visit one of the oldest and biggest agricultural co-operative in Greece and taste local wines and extra virgin olive oil. Ending the tasting next comes the palace of Knossos. When visiting the island of Crete someone must see the ancient palace of Knossos, built 3.500 years ago. Ending the visit of Knossos drive to Heraklion. A walk in the heart of the city of Heraklion with stops at small shops, tasting special cheeses with a shot of raki and having lunch at a small mezedopolion is a wonderful way to round out your week on the Island of Crete. We will walk the streets of the city and meet nutritional wanderings elevating the palate to heaven!! Will explore unique tastes on this walking tour of Heraklion. Will join the real daily lifestyle of the people of Heraklion. The day will start from the best small pastry shop in the city. Gloria: Artistic feeling+ imagination+ pure fresh ingredients = fascinating for your palate. We taste the “Galatoboureko” milk cream and filo pastry in syrup and “trigono” cheese cream and filo pastry in syrup. Incredible to taste something so wonderful!! Walk down town to the heart of the city and come to the PLATIA KORNAROU where we drink a cup of Greek coffee the traditional way cooked in hot sand. Walk the central market and stop for an OUZO with MEZE (Small bites accompanies the spirit) at one of the traditional Mezedopolion of the street. We will be part of the people walking / talking / arguing. Visit the cathedral of the city Saint Minas, and then the Morozini fountain at the heart of the city, the Venetian church of Saint Marcos / now gallery, the church of Saint Titus. Then we walk down to the direction the sea side of the city where we go for a light Cretan style slow food lunch with a variety of dishes accompanied with cold white wine or retsina. We end our walk after lunch tasting the famous “loukoumades” Cretan style doughnuts sprinkled with honey and sesame. Tonight our dinner will be prepared locally. We will have the opportunity to sample a large variety of specialties (called mezedes) accompanied by the Cretan snap RAKI.
Day 7 - Saturday. End of trip. So sad.
After a restful sleep, transportation will be provided for you to meet your departing flight or ferry.